Thomas’ three caps thrilling ESJ comeback victory

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007


Sports Editor

After coaching over 400 games at East St. John over the years, including a number of nail biters this season alone, Coach Troy Giordano thought he had seen everything.

That was until the thriller on Thursday night.

Mechelle Thomas’s three-pointer with one second left on the clock capped off a wild 9-0 Wildcats run in the final minute of play that erased a seven point Central Lafourche lead. It led to an improbable 52-50 East St. John win at the Chalmette Christmas Classic.

It was Thomas’s second three pointer in the final minute and the Wildcats’ third. Central Lafourche went 0-8 from the foul line in the final minutes of the game.

“I’m not gonna lie, we got lucky,” said Giordano. “We’ve lost a bunch of close ones this year though, so we’ll take it. What goes around comes around.”

East St. John (11-6) trailed by seven and Central Lafourche had the ball with a minute left, the game apparently over. But the Wildcats intentionally fouled, and Central Lafourche missed both foul shots. Thomas immediately hit a three to cut the lead to four, 50-46.

Again, the Wildcats fouled, and again, Central Lafourche came up empty at the line. This time, Thomas drove the lane and dished, finding an open Halle Lennix, who cut the deficit to one, 50-49, with a three-pointer.

East St. John fouled one last time, and Central Lafourche couldn’t convert. Thomas pulled up and fired a three with one-second left, and it swished through to give the Wildcats the win.

Thomas led the team with 20 points. Phallon Schnyder scored 10.

Giordano said that it meant a lot for his team, which had already lost three one-point games this season, to pull out a win in which it didn’t have its “A-game” for much of the night.

“We played flat the entire game,” said Giordano. “We led 4-0, after that they led all the way. We shot poorly. When you’re down seven and they have the ball, it’s pretty much over you’d assume.”

But it wasn’t over by a long shot. East St. John advanced to the semifinal round of the Christmas Classic as a result of the win.